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#372
The X Remix Part One

"The Nightmare of Reality"
by Chip Caroon

Editor's Note: This story takes place after Wolverine #141-143, and about a month after "Rage Against the Machine".
It was coming. The hideous, grotesque creature was coming fast. Charles Xavier tried to scream, but no sound came out. He tried to run, but his crushed legs would not allow him the mobility he desired. The shadow fell over him, making the surrounding darkness below seem even darker.

"If only I could walk," Xavier thought.

The monster was approaching faster. Suddenly, Xavier felt a sensation he hadn't felt in years. He stood up and ran.

Oh, the joy! If only his life wasn't in danger!

Behind him, he heard the creature growl. Xavier looked back, but his assailant was still cloaked in darkness.

As he turned his head back, he was too late. Now he was falling.

Falling.

"AAAAHHHHH!" Xavier screamed as he woke up, sitting straight up in bed.

"What's wrong?" Wolverine asked, coming into the room, and flipped the light switch.

"Wolverine?" Charles asked, in a dazed state.

"That's me, bub."

"Charles!" came the shout from the hall.

"Ororo," Charles said.

Behind Wolverine, Storm entered, followed by Kitty Pryde, Peter Rasputin, and Kurt Wagner, all in their nightclothes.

"By the goddess, Charles, what's wrong?" Ororo asked.

"Something was chasing me," Charles replied. "But I don't know what. Everything else around me was dark. I had a sense that it was . . . it was . . . unraveling. I'm not sure of anything in that dream. But one thing sticks out. Something was probing."

"Are you okay?" Wolverine asked.

"Yes, Logan, everything's under control."

"Just like on the Skrull ship,*" Colossus said.

*(Uncanny X-Men #371 - Rage Against the Machine part one)

"Excuse me?" Xavier asked.

"Right after we came out of suspended animation," Peter replied. "You had some sort of vision. And you said everything was under control."

"What are you getting at, Peter?" Ororo asked.

"It doesn't matter. I want all of you out, now!" Xavier snapped.

"But, Chuck!" Wolverine interjected.

{OUT!} Xavier's mind-message was clear and very loud. The X-Men began to walk out and back to their own rooms.

As Wolverine walked out, he muttered, "The man's losing it!"

Ororo was the last to head for the door, but before she got there, Charles stopped her.

"Ororo, if you would stay a moment."


Val Cooper sat in the Oval Office, waiting for the President. She tugged at her mini-skirt, which was riding up slightly. A clipboard lay in her lap. She glanced at her watch.

"He's late," she whispered. Then as afterthought, added, "As always."

Val looked down the clipboard. When she had skimmed the top half of the page, the President walked in. Val stood up.

"Please have a seat, Ms. Cooper," the President said, looking at the badge on Val's jacket.

"Thank you," Val replied.

"Ms. Cooper . . . Val, I need your help. As head of the Bureau of Mutant Affairs, you are in contact with many of the most powerful mutants on the planet. You are also in contact with the leading mutant experts. You know which mutants would make a good strike team. Even, if you didn't, you know who you could ask to make one."

"Wait a minute," Val interrupted. "Are you saying that you want to reinstate X-Factor?"

The President sighed, took a deep breath, and shook his head. "In a word, yes."

"Why?" Val asked. "Why would the government need a new mutant task force? Especially X-Factor. Last time, they broke away. Besides, anti-mutant hysteria is running rampant. Remember Operation: Zero Tolerence*? Not too many people were against it. Hell, the U.N. has even given Magneto his own country because they're afraid of what he'll do.**"

*(X-Men #65-70, Uncanny #346-349, Cable #45-47, Wolverine #115-118)

**(X-Men #87 - The Magneto War part 5)

The President sat at his desk calmly and seemed to ignore Val's final outburst. "We have come to believe that there is an outlaw mutant group in operation. This group is dangerous. They must be contained at all costs!"

"You don't mean . . .?"

"Yes, the X-Men."


Kitty Pryde was making her bed when Ororo came out of Xavier's room.

"Hey, 'Ro!" Kitty called.

Storm turned her head. She saw that Kitty had gotten dressed. "Kitten," she said, in a sorrowful tone.

Kitty stopped making her bed, still holding her pillow. "Is something wrong?" she asked.

Ororo's usually optimistic face drew heavier with sadness. "We must call Scott and Jean."


Meanwhile, down in the kitchen, the other X-Men were making breakfast. Colossus was making omelets. Wolverine had his head stuck in the refrigerator.

"Where's that sausage? I can smell it, I just can't find it!"

Wolverine moved a few things around. "Finally!" he exclaimed. He came out and closed the refrigerator. The sausage was in his left hand. He popped out the claws on his right arm and raised them up, as if he intended to cut the meat. But as he brought his arm down, he retracted the claws.

"What de matter, Logan?" Gambit asked.

"I forgot that I can't cut sausage with these bone claws," Logan said. He set the sausage down. "I'll be in my room," he said as he walked out.

"Odd," Colossus thought. "Logan should have learned long ago that he can't cut sausage. And he's not the type to forget his own abilities. I wonder what is wrong."


That afternoon, Val Cooper was in New York, standing in front of an apartment. She took a deep breath and knocked.

"Who is it?" came a female's voice from inside.

"It's me, Lorna."

The door suddenly open revealing a green haired woman in a t-shirt and jeans. "Val!" she cried.

"May I come in?" Val asked.

"Oh, of course," Lorna Dane replied. She stepped aside and Val walked in. Lorna closed and locked the door. When she turned around, she saw that Val had already seated herself on the sofa.

"So what brings you to the Big Apple?" Lorna asked.

"Government business."

"With a little social visit on the side?"

"No, this is the government business."

Lorna walked over and sat down in the chair sitting perpendicular to the sofa. "What does the government want with me?"

"Not you, per se," Val answered. "They want a new mutant strike force. I first thought of you to help . . . gather it."

"You mean they want to reinstate X-Factor?"

"Yes."

"But I thought the government hated mutants."

"That's what I thought, but when I asked the President about it, he ignored me."

Lorna was silent for a moment, and then said, "Too bad Alex* isn't here."

(*Alex Summers - The mutant known as Havok)

"How are you doing?" Val asked, mentally kicking herself for not asking sooner.

"I'm okay," Lorna answered. "I miss him." She suddenly hushed up. A moment later she spoke again. "Val, please wait here." She stood up and walked out of the room.

When she returned, she was carrying a black and metallic costume.

Val looked at it. It looked familiar. Finally, she recognized it. "Havok's old costume!" she said.

Lorna sat down, still holding the costume. "Yes," she said. "And look here at the headpiece."

Val looked and saw it glowing. "That glow," she said.

"The costume is attuned to Alex's body. So as long as he was alive, the headpiece glowed."

"But he died!*"

(*X-Factor #149)

"Not according to this."

Val was silent.

"So what were you saying about X-Factor?" Lorna asked.

"Well, they kinda have the first mission planned. They want X-Factor to take out . . . the . . . X-Men."

"No!" Lorna gasped.

"But you know how it works. You'll bust into the mansion, pretend to take them down, and then break away from the government."

"So who would be in this team?"

"I was thinking about calling Forge . . ."


Scott Summers was up and fixing breakfast for himself and his wife, Jean when the telephone rang. He turned down the heat on the stove, picked up the phone and answered, "Scott Summers speaking."

"Scott."

"Ororo?!"

"Scott, we need you and Jean here. It's about Charles."

"What's wrong?"

"Is Jean on the line?"

"No. Why?"

"Get her on."


In space, a Shi'ar craft was speeding through solar systems faster than most humans had ever seen. The ship was small, holding only two people.

"Dammit, woman! I demand to return to Earth!"

"Relax, Bishop*," the woman said. "I am in charge."

(*Bishop has been separated from the X-Men since Uncanny X-Men #345.)

The woman had feathers for hair and was wearing a purple jumpsuit. Above her left breast was a nametag that read "DEATHBIRD." Bishop tapped a button on the console in front of him. A small screen popped up. It showed a layout of the solar system they were currently traveling. Earth was the closest planet.

"I want to return to Earth," Bishop repeated.

"No you don't There is nothing for you there. You are not from this time. The X-Men think you dead. Nothing more shall come from this!"

Bishop was silent for a moment. Then, he reached over, pressed another button, and quickly grabbed the control in front of him.

A forcefield was erected between Deathbird and himself. Control of the ship was redirected to Bishop, who changed course and headed for Earth.

"What have you done?" Deathbird shouted. "I'll have your ass for this when it's over!"

"Go to hell," Bishop muttered, pressing a third button. He heard a whooshing sound as Deathbird was ejected from the ship.

"Finally!" Bishop exclaimed, pushing one of his dreadlocks back on his head. That reminded him to cut them off when he go home.

The ship began its descent to Earth.


Meanwhile, Deathbird spun away from Earth at an increasing rate. "This is it," she thought.

Suddenly, she stopped. "What?" she asked out loud.

"Don't be frightened," a deep metallic voice said. "You are one of the chosen."


In was afternoon. Breakfast was long since over. Wolverine was still in his room.

Peter Rasputin had been friends with Wolverine since they both joined the team together.* Peter knew when something was wrong. He had never seen Logan act so strange.

*(Giant Size X-Men #1)

Peter decided to do something about it. He walked to Wolverine's room and knocked. "May I come in?" he asked.

He heard some clicking and muffled voices before Wolverine answered, "Sure!"

Peter opened the door and walked in. "I'm sorry if I interrupted a phone conversation."

"Nah, jus' talkin' t'myself."

Peter inhaled deeply. "Logan, is something wrong?"


At that moment, the door bell rang. Kitty Pryde was walking past the door. "I'll get it!" she shouted.

She opened the door. Suddenly, the smile on here face changed to an expression of shock. Standing on the front porch was Wolverine, looking beaten, his blue and black uniform* in tatters.

*(see Wolverine #141-143 for details.)

"Kitty, it's good to be home," Wolverine said, then he coughed.

"What are you talking about? You've been in your room since breakfast!"

"Kid, I couldn't have been. I haven't seen you all since we came back from the Skrull homeworld. I've been spending the past two weeks trying to get home!"


Continued in X-Men #92 - Two Wolverines! X-Factor reborn! Xavier going crazy! Bishop's returning! The excitement continues to build as many more X-Men return to the fold! More surprises to come!
WRITER'S NOTE: Well, here it is! The first issue of Uncanny X-Men. I've been waiting quite a while to put this up.
Oh, and in case you're wondering about Wolverine's comment about two weeks, when this story takes a month after "Rage Against the Machine", Wolverine was time-traveling, so time ran different for him. Clear?
Until Next Time,
Chip Caroon